Brazil: Interview with peasants of the Revolutionary Area Renato Nathan

We publish an unofficial translation of the interview published in A Nova Democracia.

Brazil: Interview – Peasants report on the Revolutionary Area Renato Nathan in the Midst of Eviction Threats

In an interview in the Revolutionary Area Renato Nathan in Messias/Lajeiro, in the midst threats of eviction from the judiciary, peasants organized by the League of Poor Peasants (LCP) for almost two decades told us about their life, production and struggle. A peasant told us the following about his production:

“We arrived here and arrived to the forest, right? There was no owner and so on… And we started planting coconut trees, planting oranges, cashews, mangoes, acerola, soursop, cassava, corn… Two cows of milk to make cheese to sell… That we also survive on cheese, which we sell here every day. And you sell it to the people right here in the city, right… And some chickens, some goats back there…. And two fish tanks, which is normal, right? A little turkey, something… And an old cart to work with, right? And so we get on with our lives… We don’t live on subsistence, we feed the city. […] because the city depends on us here.”

Demonstrating in his speech the importance of the Revolutionary Area, not only for the peasants themselves, but for city residents in general who benefit from peasant production. Another peasant told us what it was like in the region before the popular distribution:

“Well, when I got here, there was actually nothing here. There was nothing here, there wasn’t a jackfruit tree, there wasn’t anything for you to stand under. What was there was just grass, just grass and bushes. That was what existed here in Lajeiro. So… We arrived, there were some people there who started to plant a small field there, but they couldn’t harvest… They planted, some stole. Then there was a multiply of animals, then of humans. I wasn’t there, but they found a corps somewhere, they called the police and so on… every now and then I found people dumped here, in this area here, because it was uninhabited, this place was uninhabited.”

We asked about the League of Poor Peasants and one of the interviewees responded with his assessment of the peasant movement:

“Very good! Look, the League, this League here is a family. It’s a family together, because no one has power just because they’re president, nor does anyone grow more than anyone else. Because he is one, like the leader himself, who is a fighter. Ali is a fighter, he only lives struggling for others. And it’s not a battle for him, but a battle for others, right? Like many in the League, right? Did you understand? It only takes the land for the people to work. Living together, I think it’s very good, very, very, very good. There’s no need to talk about the coordinating partner, my friend. No, she doesn’t speak like president to anyone, she speaks like, like everyone else. The league is very good.”

With great indignation, one of them responded to us about those who want to deny that that land belongs to the peasants:

“No one should tell me to my face, they’re going to end up in hell, with bullet… The guy to call me a lazy homeless has to be a real man because it’s not easy… We live in this struggle to struggle for our daily bread as we all live here, like a homeless who comes to say that you are homeless… especially people who have nothing to do with the land. Those who say this are those who have nothing to do with it, who defend the owners of the factories who don’t live on the land, who are jealous, who are angry… then they keep saying that. We have a lot of people there in Messias who say “ah, because these people really have to leave, they keep taking what belongs to the plant”… But they don’t say it in front of us because if they say it… I know they won’t say it. If you ask, they say “no, but that’s okay…”

Regarding the struggle against threats of eviction, one of the peasants told us about their long struggle against successive attacks and their willingness to struggle:

“There have already been five, apart from this threat now. It already defeated five. Because here, we came here… And we stayed here, for a year or so, we lived it for two years, and we were always building. And the League always supports us, gives us support and seeks reality. The League said we will struggle until the end.”

At the end of the interview, we were able to perceive the climate of revolt among the peasants in the face of yet another eviction attempt by the mill owners. One of the peasants stated:

“What I had, I sold to invest here, is what you see here in the enclosure. The little things I had to invest, that’s it. You don’t have a house, if you say “today… – God forbid! – I’m going to leave Lajeiro”, I’m going to stay on the street. So I say today, in this interview that I’m recording. Here I ask God that God takes the lead and that nothing bad comes. Because here, to get me out of here, you have to have good troops. Because otherwise there will be a conflict, there will be bullets and fire, because what else am I going to do if I have to leave?”

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